On the March in Arnhem

Earlier this year I painted some figures for a ‘Group Build’ on the very wonderful Benno’s Figures Forum. These were then sent over to Germany for a talented chap called Jan to build into a display alongside many other figures also received from fellow forum members across Europe and the US.

The idea behind the project was to assemble a long column of marching figures taking in different historical periods while representing the painter’s own country or region.  I painted the 17th Regiment (representing my county of Leicestershire) using RedBox’s British infantry circa 1750.

 

This week, the project has finally been declared “finished” and photos of the final, grand diorama were posted on the forum. The display featured proudly at last weekend’s FIGZ wargaming & miniatures event in Holland. I feel very proud to have contributed a little something to this project alongside my talented fellow figure painters from across the globe.

So, here’s where my 17th Regiment boys ended up after Jan’s magic treatment – marching through the woodland of the US / Canadian border around the time of the French-Indian War (1754-63).

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And here are some photos of the wonderful figures which comprised the rest of the march:

 

The contributors, their nations and figures:

  • Paul, Great Britain – Grenadier Guards with marching band. Astronauts. Prussian Infantry, circa 1806.
  • Sascha, Germany – Prussian grenadiers, circa 1760. Napoleonic Westfalian Infantry.
  • Arekmaximus, Poland – Late Roman Infantry
  • Dykio, Netherlands – Soldiers painted in the colours of the ADO Den Haag football team!
  • Michael Roberts, France – French Revolutionary Infantry
  • Gunnar, Sweden – British Grenadiers, circa 1770s. Swedish Infantry circa 1700.
  • Giorgio, Italy – Napoleonic Austrian Infantry
  • Konrad, Germany – Napoleonic Highlanders
  • Edwardian, Great Britain – 14th Middlesex (Inns of Court) Rifle Volunteer Corps, circa 1897.
  • Remco, Netherlands – Napoleonic Dutch Infantry and a flagbearer with a FIGZ flag!
  • Peter, Belgium – Napoleonic Belgian Infantry
  • Dirk, Germany – Prussian infantry representing a variety of periods.
  • Dalibor, Croatia – Napoleonic Austrian Grenzer
  • Erik-Jan, Netherlands – Napoleonic French Light Infantry
  • Andrea, Italy / Togo – Italian Bersaglieri, circa 1859.
  • Bluefalchion, USA – Indian Wars US Infantry
  • Marvin, Great Britain (…yours truly) – 17th Regiment of Foot, circa 1750.

And finally , aside from making the whole diorama, Jan also found time to contribute the following figures:

  • Jan, Germany – Napoleonic Danish Infantry, Confederate Infantry circa 1860s. Napoleonic French Infantry, Medieval hunters and WWII US Infantry.

HM 17th Regiment of Infantry

I’ve now finished the 17th Regiment of Foot for the 2017 Benno’s Figures Forum Great Miniature Figures Parade. Lots of detail on the figures required lots of careful work. Thankfully. I had lots of time these past few days and only a few chores, furthermore I’ve really enjoyed painting them. The RedBox figures are very impressive, perhaps not the greatest I’ve ever seen, but with lots of character and crisp detail nonetheless!

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RedBox is to be also commended for tackling the topic of the mid-18th century British army. This era was incredibly important for British infantry as it began to learn how to fight in conflicts right across the globe for the first time in its history. From the Carnatic Wars in India, to the French & Indian War in North America; from the port of Havana, to the coast of West Africa; and from the Philippines in Asia, to Silesia in Europe, the British army was soon to find itself pre-eminent on a global scale (although the American War of Independence was around the corner…). It seems unjust that figures on this era remain very few indeed at 1/72 scale.

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Sergeants, drummer and flag bearer of the 17th.

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I’ve bought a few boxes of these RedBox figures and I intend to keep dipping into it to build up a force in time. For now, my 17th Regiment (just like their real forbears) are also about to travel for service overseas. Instead of North America or the West Indies, however, the are making for Germany. There they will be incorporated into a parade diorama by a talented fellow called Jan and then to ultimately make their way with the rest of the marching force over to Arnhem in Holland for display at the FIGZ convention!

Finally, on a related topic, I draw your attention to a US re-enactment group who are dedicated to bringing to life the “The 17th Regiment of Foot” as they were at the time of the American War of Independence (a decade or so later than the era depicted with my figures). Their excellent website states that it was;

“…established in the early 2000’s with the mission is to provide for its members and the public the experiences of the common British soldier throughout the conflict, and more specifically at historic sites from the Hudson River Valley to Virginia.”

In particular, they have an excellent study of the regiment’s finest hour at the battle of Princeton and in the successful defence of a baggage train, both against overwhelming odds. They conclude:

“Their conduct at Princeton and at many other battles throughout the American War made the 17th Regiment one of the truly outstanding British units of the war.. “

And this Leicester man says”hear, hear” to that!

The BFFGMFP…

It’s that time of year when a German gentleman named Jan from Benno’s Figures Forum announces the theme for this year’s ‘Group Build’; a collaboration in which Forum contributors from across Europe, nay – the world, collate their figures for display at the FIGZ convention in Arnhem. It is officially known as (take a deep breath) the Bennos Figures Forum Great Miniature Figures Parade (BFFGMFP)!!!

Last year, I sent some WWII Dutch cyclists and Napoleonic Dutch Infantry to join the many entertaining scenes of historical figures travelling “on the road to Arnhem”. In 2015, I sent four figures (including a Scots Grey, a Hanoverian Hussar, a Prussian Jager and a Nassau Grenadier) to join a large diorama commemorating the 200th anniversary of Waterloo. Importantly, two of these figures were Napoleonic cavalry, which kick-started my ongoing Nappy Cavalry Project…

For this year, the idea is to assemble a huge column of marching figures. The figures involved can be from any historical period and the intention is to build up a parade which travels through all the ages. We’ve been encouraged to paint a unit from our own countries or regions and with this in mind, I’ve come up with the following idea:

This year, my contribution will be –

The 17th Regiment of Foot, circa 1740!

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Soldier of the 17th Regiment, 1742 (contemporary print)

The “17th Regiment of Foot” became the “17th (Leicestershire) Regiment of Foot” in 1782, and then simply “The Leicestershire Regiment” following the Childers Reforms of 1881. Being a Leicestershire man myself, this certainly fulfils the brief to send figures representing my own country or region.

The figures I’m going to use have been lying around unpainted for a couple of years now. The figures are from Ukrainian manufacturer RedBox, specifically their British Infantry (Jacobite Rebellion 1745) set. It contains lots of marching figures, perfect for the BFFGMFP! Not having painted any RedBox figures before, I’m keen to try them out. At first glance, without being worthy of the description ‘sublime’, I’d say their figures look promising.

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RedBox British Infantry (c.1745)
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On the march: Leicestershire joins the “BFFGMFP”

I have until May to produce my contribution of what I hope will be around 15-20 figures, so there’s plenty of time. I have other things demanding my attention in the meantime. I’m still putting together the next post in my equine painting tutorial as I develop my Russian Cuirassier horses, hopefully this should be posted in the coming week, work duties allowing.

Bye for now!

Marvin.

British Cavalry Uniforms of the 19th Century: 6th Dragoon Guards

A series of regular blog posts displaying images from “British Cavalry Uniforms of the 19th Century”; a set of trade cards issued by Badshah Tea Co. of London in 1963. 


#6: The 6th Dragoon Guards

“Raised in 1685 and known as the King’s Carabiniers, partly because the men were armed with long pistols known as ‘carabines’. The regiment was amalgamated in 1922 with the 3rd Dragoon Guards to form the Prince of Wales’ Dragoon Guards. This is an officer in 1888.”

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Officer, 6th Dragoon Guards (c.1888)
Sites of interest about the 6th Dragoon Guards (also known as the Carabiniers):

National Army Museum page on the 6th Dragoon Guards (Carabiniers).

The museum of the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards, of which the 6th Dragoon Guards are an antecedent.

 

 

British Cavalry Uniforms of the 19th Century: 1st Life Guards

A series of regular blog posts displaying images from “British Cavalry Uniforms of the 19th Century”; a set of trade cards issued by Badshah Tea Co. of London in 1963. Appropriately, given my recent efforts at painting them, this one features the Life Guards in their uniform used after Waterloo.


#5: The 1st Life Guards

“This illustration shows an officer of the Life Guards in the full dress uniform worn at the Coronation of George IV. The present day style with the plumed helmet did not come into use until the 1870s.”

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Officer, Life Guards (c.1821).
Sites of interest about the Life Guards:

National Army Museum page on the Life Guards.

Household Cavalry Regiment website; a “labour of love — intended to be
of help to (and about) the Regiment”.

Site of the Household Cavalry Museum in Horse Guards, Whitehall, London. (One day, I WILL visit this too…)

British Army’s own web page on the Life Guards, still a functioning regiment to this day.

And, of course, there’s my own Waterloo-era Life Guards figures painted recently!

British Cavalry Uniforms of the 19th Century: 13th Light Dragoons

A series of regular blog posts displaying images from “British Cavalry Uniforms of the 19th Century”; a set of trade cards issued by Badshah Tea Co. of London in 1963. 


#4: The 13th Light Dragoons

“This regiment formed part of the Light Brigade in the famous charge at Balaclava and our picture shows a trooper of this period. In 1861 the regiment was converted to Hussars and in 1922 amalgamated with the 18th Hussars to form the 13th/18th Royal Hussars (Queen Mary’s Own).”

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Trooper, 13th Light Dragoons (c.1854)

Sites of interest about the 10th Hussars:

Ogilvy Trust webpage on the 13th/18th Royal Hussars and Light Dragoons museum.

The Light Dragoons Regimental Association website.

National Army Museum webpage on the 13th Hussars.

And I’ve painted the 13th LD in both their Napoleonic and, like here, their Crimean campaign uniforms. See blog post here. And here

1st Life Guards (Nappy Cavalry Project Set #18)

My list of Nappy Cavalry Project regiments grows ever longer! In my recent post, I bemoaned my disaster with varnishing the figures. Essentially, what happened was that I was delighted with my horses up until I applied my usually reliable varnish coat. Something has tainted the varnish and the effect was to make my horses too shiny, too dark and to obliterate any shading details. Needless to say, I was a tad unhappy. A coat of fresh varnish has dulled the shine a little but the loss of subtle detail seems terminal.

Oh well, they will have to do. They are pleasing enough, just not quite as good as I felt they would have been…

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1st Life Guards (c.1815)

I’ve painted this set before as the Royal Horse Guards, of course and this set by Revell really is a terrific sculpt. The delicacy of the detail makes things tricky for the painter but ultimately rewards the patience needed to tackle it (varnishing horrors notwithstanding).

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Mark Adkin’s magnificent “Waterloo Companion” book states that the Life Guards were mounted on “large, black horses with manes brushed to the left to distinguish them from the Blues who brushed them to the right.” The manes appear to be brushed to the right of the horse, which makes them correct for Horse Guards but not ironically for Life Guards as stated on the box!

Anyway; enough pedantry, here are the photos:

Biography: 1st Life Guards [Great Britain]

This prestigious regiment has its origins in March 1660, King Charles II appointed Officers to three Troops of Horse Guards with the express intention that they protect the royal person. They saw action in wars against the Dutch and in the Monmouth Rebellion at the battle of Sedgemoor. In the 18th Century, the Horse Guards served in the Jacobite rebellions and the War of the Austrian Succession.

By 1788, only the 1st and 2nd troops remained in existence and, along with the two troops of Horse Grenadier Guards, were reorganised into two regiments; the 1st and 2nd Regiments of Life Guards. The 1st Life Guards fought in the Peninsular War and were present at the Hundred Days campaign, when they were attached to Wellington’s Household Brigade of heavy cavalry (alongside the Royal Horse Guards, the King’s Dragoon Guards and their sister regiment, the 2nd Life Guards).

The 1st LG got the chance to taste action prior to the battle of Waterloo in the torrential rain of the 17th June, skilfully assisting Wellington’s withdrawal after Quatre Bras. In one incident, they came to the aid of British light cavalry by successfully counter-charging French Lancers. Losses were light and they took to the field the next day with 255 sabres.

On the field of Waterloo, they were positioned with the rest of the brigade to the west of the road to Brussels. At 2:20pm, the 1st Life Guards and King’s Dragoon Guards charged the advancing French cuirassiers numbering some 780 sabres and, after some minutes of intense melee, routed them. Losses were heavy in the battle and their commanding officer Lt.Col. Ferrior was mortally wounded after allegedly leading the regiment in up to 11 charges throughout the battle. Assisting the great victory with such gallantry only added to the fame and honour of the prestigious 1st cavalry regiment of the British Army.

The 1st Life Guards merged with the 2nd Life Guards in 1922 to form a single regiment; the “Life Guards”, a regiment which remains in service even today.

Battle Honours: Dettingen, Peninsula, Waterloo.

 

 

Someone has blundered…

Disaster, if that’s not a gross hyperbole, has struck more than once at Suburban Militarism this week. Let me explain;

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“Urghh. What a week…”

Firstly, I took a day off work and planned a Suburban Militarism Day Trip on the train to visit the Staffordshire Yeomanry Museum. My train was approaching the station bang on time when it suddenly stopped just short. Apparently an unfortunate incident on the train (a passenger being sadly taken ill) meant a long delay and it only rolled up to the platform when 25 mins late. All of which meant that I would now undoubtedly miss my connection to Stafford! I trudged home dejectedly…

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“Where’s my train?”

My second disaster struck only last night. I had just finished my Life Guards horses and, feeling pretty pleased with them, I was ready to apply my trusty Daler Rowney matt varnish.

Unfortunately, my beloved Daler Rowney has sadly let me down! Instead of the crisp matt, I’ve now got a satin finish; gloss even. Worse; it seems to have made them appear darker. The fine shading details are totally lost and the shiny horses look terrible! I’m at a loss to explain why my varnish has so suddenly ‘gone bad’, but even a second coat after much more stirring has done nothing but made it worse. I’m not sure it will be retrievable even with a fresh pot of varnish. Needless to say, after all the hard work – (and these Revell Life Guards really were hard work) – I’m gutted.

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“Arrrgh! Noooo…my Varnish!”

What makes a trusted varnish go bad? Age? Answers on a postcard, please. Or even in the comments section of this blog. I’ll have another go when a fresh pot of varnish arrives through the mail and I will post the results; good or bad…

Ho hum. On a brighter note at least, I’ve at least been finishing off some more of my Quiberon Expedition figures; specifically, the Royal Louis Regiment. Pictures to follow (varnishing dramas aside).

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Lymington Museum depiction of the Royal Louis Regt.

 

Revell Life Guards update

No waffle – here’s how my Revell Life Guards are looking (sorry, photos seem a bit dark!). The horses will be next under the brush.

Oh, maybe just a little waffle, then. I’ve been looking through my trade cards and found an album of cards by non-cigarette brands. After the Second World War, as the production of card sets by tobacco manufacturers waned, confectioners and tea brands seem to have taken up the practice in their place. The artwork seldom seemed to have matched the fine quality of pre-war sets, but some were attractive nonetheless.

Being a prestigious and well-known regiment, the Life Guards featured regularly. Here’s a selection I’ve found just in my own collection:

Life Painting: Revell Life Guards

Last year, as part of 2015’s Nappy Cavalry Project, I painted some Revell Life Guards. Being somewhat contrary, for that particular project I chose to paint them as their sister regiment in the Household Division; the Royal Horse Guards (aka The Blues) – which you can view here. I enjoyed painting them so much that I immediately resolved to paint the remainder of the box as Life Guards too, possibly at some point in 2016.

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Royal Horse Guards (The Blues)

So that’s exactly what I’m now doing…

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Early stages of painting: Lots still to do, including their grubby faces!

I’d forgotten just how tricky these Revell guys are to do. Some of the detail is really tiny, and it seems especially so after painting Strelets figures. Already, I’ve gone through a number of troughs of doubt as to how they are progressing, convinced I need to re-do this or that, or even contemplating completely starting again. Hopefully, they’ll all turn out okay in the end!

Even though they are still in the early stages of paintwork, it’s interesting to compare the figures with their Royal Horse Guard versions from last year (see below).

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Updates on my progress to follow in due course!